United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Western Division
ORDER AND OPINION
Bramlette UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment [Doc. 16] filed by
Defendant Home Depot U.S.A., Inc.
Warner-Armstrong brought this falling-merchandise action
against Home Depot U.S.A., Inc. (“Home Depot”) in
Lincoln County Circuit Court. She alleges she was injured
when an item fell from the shelf of a Brookhaven, Mississippi
Home Depot store and struck her in the head. She cannot say
what struck her or how it fell; she instead insists she
diversity jurisdiction, Home Depot removed the case to this
Court. It now moves for summary judgment, arguing
Warner- Armstrong cannot prove one or more elements of her
premises-liability claim under Mississippi law.
judgment is proper if Home Depot shows that there is no
genuine dispute as to any material fact and that it is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a).
If Home Depot shows the absence of a disputed material fact,
Warner-Armstrong “must go beyond the pleadings and
designate specific facts showing that there is a genuine
issue for trial.” McCarty v. Hillstone Restaurant
Grp., Inc., 864 F.3d 354, 357 (5th Cir. 2017).
Court views facts and draws reasonable inferences in
Warner-Armstrong's favor. Vann v. City of Southaven,
Miss., 884 F.3d 307, 309 (5th Cir. 2018). As always, the
Court neither assesses credibility nor weighs evidence at the
summary-judgment stage. Gray v. Powers, 673 F.3d
352, 354 (5th Cir. 2012) (citation omitted).
is based on diversity of citizenship, so the Court applies
Mississippi premises-liability law. Mid-Continent Cas.
Co. v. Swift Energy Co., 206 F.3d 487, 491 (5th Cir.
2000) (citing Erie R.R. Co. v. Tompkins, 304 U.S. 64
is an invitee. See Patricola v. Imperial Palace of Miss.,
LLC, 235 So.3d 214, 216-17 (Miss. Ct. App. 2017). So to
recover, she must show (1) a negligent act of Home Depot
caused her injury; (2) Home Depot had actual knowledge of a
dangerous condition; or (3) a dangerous condition remained
long enough to impute constructive knowledge to Home
Depot. Walz v. HWCC-Tunica, Inc., 186 So.3d 375, 377
(Miss. Ct. App. 2016). Each theory requires Warner-Armstrong
to show a dangerous condition existed. Jones v. Wal-Mart
Stores East, LP, 187 So.3d 1100, 1104 (Miss. Ct. App.
Depot contends it is entitled to summary judgment because
Warner-Armstrong cannot prove that Home Depot created or had
actual or constructive knowledge of a dangerous condition. In
support, it points to portions of Warner-Armstrong's
deposition testimony and her interrogatory responses. And it
emphasizes Warner-Armstrong's inability to identify what
item struck her and how it fell from the shelf. It also notes
that Warner-Armstrong is the sole witness, and it suggests
that she lacks credibility.
rejoins that she has presented circumstantial evidence
showing her injury was caused by Home Depot's negligent
failure to maintain its shelves. Home Depot is responsible
for maintaining its shelves; it must therefore have created